By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has criticised the Scottish Government for cutting police budgets, after a freedom of information request by the party found that Police Scotland spent more than £10 million on hire vehicles.
New figures obtained by Scottish Liberal Democrats under freedom of information show that the cost of police hire vehicles between 2017 and 2022 soared to £10,930,935.37. In 2022 alone, Police Scotland spent £5,498,529 on hire vehicles, a five-fold increase on the year before.
In June, the Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone, right, stated that policing was “not one of the priorities” of the SNP Government’s recent spending review.
In August, police officers took industrial action by withdrawing their goodwill from the force over a pay dispute.
“The Chief Constable is right to say that police funding is not one of the priorities for this SNP government.
“We know that policing has been left underfunded and under-resourced. Now we see the bill for hiring in vehicles ballooning at a time when Police Scotland can ill-afford it. With further cuts to justice budgets in the years ahead, the picture looks even more worrying.
“People need to know that when a crime is committed, the police will turn up and offenders will be properly pursued. With the squeeze on police and court budgets, that can no longer be taken for granted.
“The SNP seem to want to get justice on the cheap. Scottish Liberal Democrats have argued, and the public knows, that this is simply unsustainable.”